Archive for January, 2014

Hawaii Tries to Pass GMO Labeling Law with SB2736

January 31, 2014

Christina Sarich
Natural Society/News Report
Published: Friday 31 January 2014
What stands in the way of SB2736 is the Agriculture Committee, where it was referred, circumnavigating committees in charge of finances and consumer protection.
Article image

This time next year all of Hawaii could have a GMO food labeling bill that requires Monsanto, Syngenta, and other Biotech and Agriculture companies to label their frankenfoods. Senate Bill 2736 has been emotionally debated in a community hearing held earlier this week, and if enthusiastic ‘No to GMO’ advocates get their way, then all genetically  modified foods will be labeled as such by January 1, 2015. The discussion on this topic was kept until the very end of a community forum, with many people who had shown up to support the bill having to leave prior to its discussion being taken up.

What stands in the way of SB2736 is the Agriculture Committee, where it was referred, circumnavigating committees in charge of finances and consumer protection. Senator Rosalyn Baker is concerned that it won’t get past the Agriculture Committee since the Chairman of this committee is Clarence Nishihara, who has been opposed to labeling GMOs. Baker lamented, “It’s doubtful, I think, with that line-up that the bill would get another hearing, but one never knows.”

 

SB2736 is just one of many GMO-bills the Agricultural Committee is reviewing this year. Other bills under review would require more biotech disclosure and still others would ban GMO in Hawaii altogether. 

You can contact Clarence Nishihara, and let him know just what you think of GMO, as well as Ronald D. Kouchi, the Vice-chair of the committee about to review this important GMO legislation.  If you’ve ever visited Hawaii, or dreamed of visiting, you have a right to demand non-genetically modified foods for now and future generations.

Other bills related to GMOs that were introduced in the Senate include Senate Bill 2955 and Senate Bill 2737, both of which would require more disclosure from biotech companies.

“Given that we don’t have a referendum/initiative process in Hawaii, a constitutional amendment is the next best thing,” Gabbard said via email, adding that the proposal is patterned after referendums in California and Washington. “This bill would be a great way to let the people have a real voice on this important issue.”

But one of the bigger issues is the proposal of other bills that may ‘interfere’ with the imposed restrictions on big biotech, such as Nishihara’s proposal to amend Hawaii’s “Right to Farm” law.

“The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this State,” Nishihara’s bill, Senate Bill 3058, says. “No law, ordinance, or resolution of any unit of local government shall be enacted that abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production, and ranching practices not prohibited by federal or state law, rules, or regulations.”

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The “Real” Political Corruption

January 31, 2014

January 30, 2014

 

By Dave Lefcourt

A recent article in the NY Times entitled, “IT Only Seems That Political Corruption Is Rampant” was misleading pointing to graft & fraud as the corruption the public sees as rampant. The real political corruption is the legalized bribery of the entire political process sanctified by SCOTUS in their 2010 Citizens United ruling granting Corporations 1st Amendment right to make unlimited expenditures in political campaigns.

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From http://www.flickr.com/photos/47422005@N04/11001289643/: Corporate Threat to Liberty

Caricature of corporate “Porky” threatening liberty

On this the 4 th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ignominious ruling in “Citizens United v/s FEC”, a decision that all but sanctified legalized bribery of the entire political process in this country, this writer came across a recent New York Times article entitled, “It Only Seems That Political Corruption Is Rampant” [i] , by staff writer Michael Wines.

What was startling in Wines’ piece there was no mention of Citizens United and the corrupting effect SCOTUS ruling, (essentially granting corporations the 1 st Amendment protected right to make unlimited expenditures to support or oppose political candidates) has had on the electoral process.

Wines focused on the recent indictment of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on fraud and conspiracy charges along with the 2009 conviction of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson who had $90,000 in marked bills in his freezer depicting the latter as “headlines” grabbing with “few public failings as colorful” as Jefferson’s “political malfeasance” being the type of corruption people see as rampant.

He goes on to cite Larry Sabato, the Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics who said, “I’ve studied American political corruption throughout the 19 th and 20 th centuries and if anything, corruption was much more common in much of those centuries than today. What has skyrocketed is the public perception that politicians are corrupt”.

But from here let’s get past the sordid corruption committed by Jefferson type politico’s accepting old fashioned graft and get to the heart of what is the real political corruption in this country.

A few years ago Senator Dick Durbin (D. ILL) being interviewed on a local Chicago radio broadcast led us into the real world of political corruption talking about the financial industries influence in the United States Senate by saying, “And frankly, they own the place”.

That off the cuff comment by Durbin, just after the bailout of the big banks and financial meltdown they created with the bursting of the sub-prime mortgage bubble in 2008, essentially let the cat out of the bag indicating where the real corruption lies.

Today’s corruption of our politico’s is more subtle and sophisticated and made all the more “legal” by SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United that served to unleash a torrent of big money into the political process.

In all but a few instances, a Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren being a few exceptions rejecting big corporate contributions to their campaigns, big money selects who runs for office, underwrites their campaigns, undermines opponents with attack ads and smear tactics all to get their man (woman) elected.

Once elected, help set the political agenda, enact the laws and regulations, oversight and enforcement that serve to benefit the interests of their financial underwriters.

Of course these sycophants always maintain they are not influenced by the primary financial backers of their campaigns, but only the completely naïve would subscribe to such a notion.

So it’s not the under the table bribes taken by a few Jefferson type miscreants that is the real political corruption in this country but the legalized bribery of the entire political process now sanctified by SCOTUS in their Citizens United ruling.

Overturning that ruling with an amendment to the Constitution is a current ongoing campaign where some 16 states and hundreds of local municipalities have petitioned the Congress to call for such an amendment. Thus far well over a 100 lawmakers in Congress have signed on to authorize such an amendment.

Getting big money out of the electoral process with an amendment to the constitution may be the last gasp hope of saving this representative democracy.


[i] It Only Seems That Political Corruption Is Rampant”, by Michael Wines, “The New York Times”, January 26, 2014.

Submitters Website: dglefc22733@aol.com

Submitters Bio:

Retired. The author of “DECEIT AND EXCESS IN AMERICA, HOW THE MONEYED INTERESTS HAVE STOLEN AMERICA AND HOW WE CAN GET IT BACK”, Authorhouse, 2009

Spring Days of Action to End Drone Killing, Drone Surveillance, Global Militarization

January 31, 2014

January 30, 2014

 

By David Swanson

Today we issue an international call for Spring Days of Action — 2014, a coordinated campaign in April and May to:

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Today we issue an international call for Spring Days of Action — 2014, a coordinated campaign in April and May to:

          End Drone Killing, Drone Surveillance and Global Militarization

The campaign will focus on drone bases, drone research facilities and test sites and drone manufacturers.

The campaign will provide information on:

1. The suffering of tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza who are under drone attack, documenting the killing, the wounding and the devastating impact of constant drone surveillance on community life.

2. How attack and surveillance drones have become a key element in a massive wave of surveillance, clandestine military attacks and militarization generated by the United States to protect a global system of manufacture and oil and mineral exploitation that is creating unemployment and poverty, accelerating the waste of nonrenewable resources and contributing to environmental destruction and global warming.

In addition to cases in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, we will examine President Obama’s “pivot” into the Asia-Pacific, where the United States has already sold and deployed drones in the vanguard of a shift of 60% of its military forces to try to control China and to enforce the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership.  We will show, among other things, how this surge of “pivot” forces, greatly enabled by drones, and supported by the US military-industrial complex, will hit every American community with even deeper cuts in the already fragile social programs on which people rely for survival.  In short, we will connect drones and militarization with “austerity” in America.

3. How drone attacks have effectively destroyed international and domestic legal protection of the rights to life, privacy, freedom of assembly and free speech and have opened the way for new levels of surveillance and repression around the world, and how, in the United States, increasing drone surveillance, added to surveillance by the National Security Agency and police, provides a new weapon to repress black, Hispanic, immigrant and low-income communities and to intimidate Americans who are increasingly unsettled by lack of jobs, economic inequality, corporate control of politics and the prospect of endless war.

We will discuss how the United States government and corporations conspire secretly to monitor US citizens and particularly how the Administration is accelerating drone surveillance operations and surveillance inside the United States with the same disregard for transparency and law that it applies to other countries, all with the cooperation of the Congress.

The campaign will encourage activists around the world to win passage of local laws that prohibit weaponized drones and drone surveillance from being used in their communities as well as seeking national laws to bar the use of weaponized drones and drone surveillance.

The campaign will draw attention to the call for a ban on weaponized drones by RootsAction.org that has generated a petition with over 80,000 signers

http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6180

and to efforts by the Granny Peace Brigade (New York City), KnowDrones.org and others to achieve an international ban on both weaponized drones and drone surveillance.

The campaign will also urge participation in the World Beyond War movement.

The following individuals and organizations endorse this Call:

Lyn Adamson — Co-chair, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Dennis Apel — Guadalupe Catholic Worker, California

Judy Bello — Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars

Medea Benjamin — Code Pink

Leah Bolger — Former National President, Veterans for Peace

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Sung-Hee Choi — Gangjeong Village International Team, Jeju, Korea

Chelsea C. Faria — Graduate student, Yale  Divinity School; Promoting Enduring Peace

Sandy Fessler — Rochester (NY) Against War

Joy First

Bruce K. Gagnon – Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Holly Gwinn Graham — Singer/songwriter, Olympia, WA.

Regina Hagen – Darmstaedter Friedensforum, Germany

Kathy Kelly — Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Malachy Kilbride

Marilyn Levin and Joe Lombardo — Co-Coordinators, United National Antiwar Coalition

Tamara Lorincz — Halifax Peace Coalition, Canada

Nick Mottern — KnowDrones.org

Agneta Norberg — Swedish Peace Council

Pepperwolf — Director, Women Against Military Madness

Lindis Percy, Coordinator, Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases  CAAB UK

Mathias Quackenbush — San Francisco, CA

Lisa Savage — Code Pink, State of Maine

Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Wolfgang Schlupp-Hauck- Friedenswerkstatt Mutlangen, Germany

Cindy Sheehan

Lucia Wilkes Smith — Convener, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) — Ground Military Drones Committee

David Soumis — Veterans for Peace; No Drones Wisconsin

Debra Sweet — World Can’t Wait

David Swanson – WarisACrime.org

Brian Terrell — Voices for Creative Nonviolence

United National Antiwar Coalition

Veterans for Peace

Dave Webb — Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK)

Curt Wechsler — Fire John Yoo! (a project of World Can’t Wait) — San Francisco, CA

Paki Wieland, Northampton (MA) Committee to Stop War(s)

Loring Wirbel — Citizens for Peace in Space (Colorado Springs, CO)

Women Against Military Madness

Ann Wright — Retired US Army colonel and former diplomat

Leila Zand – Fellowship of Reconciliation

Add your name by emailing it to Email address removed and watch for updates at http://KnowDrones.org

Submitters Website: http://davidswanson.org

Submitters Bio:

David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org

America is Being Decimated by a Raging Political Crisis

January 31, 2014

January 30, 2014

 

By michael payne

President Obama finds himself in the center of a political storm that is wreaking havoc in this country and its society. Nothing of substance is getting done, problems are not being solved and millions of Americans, instead of living the American dream, are living in a state of misery and hopelessness.

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From https://i2.wp.com/www.opednews.com/populum/uploaded/monchie-23439-20120323-164.jpg: codes of conduct

President Obama finds himself in the center of a political storm that is wreaking havoc on this country and its society. Nothing of substance is getting done, problems are not being solved and millions of Americans, instead of living the American dream, are living in a state of misery and hopelessness.

We all are sick and tired of hearing that this government is dysfunctional, that it is caught up in a state of gridlock; one in which the use of congressional filibusters is rampant and obstruction of legislation is the name of the game being played by Republicans. Yes we have heard that time and again; but what Americans want to know is when something really positive and meaningful is going to be done about it? Who and what will get these totally corrupted politicians off their butts and do their jobs?

There’s a ton of blame to go around and, in my view, there is no question that the pathetic Republican obstructionists are responsible for the largest share of this gridlock. But the Democrats must also share the blame for letting this situation continue to fester because of their often spineless and cowardly behavior. And there is no doubt but that President Obama has also been a major contributor to this nation’s ongoing political crisis because of his own policies and actions, or lack of them.

O.K. so it’s a terrible dilemma for America but how exactly are we going to get out of this mess? We know that we have a president who isn’t much of a fighter and readily backs down when confronted by Republican obstructionists. Americans want a fearless, courageous president who will relentlessly attack this nation’s many problems but that’s just not who he is.

The question is if he, with less than three years remaining in office, can somehow turn his presidency from one of a defensive nature into one that takes the offense and gets positive things done? To do that he would have to shift his energy level and performance into high gear by taking swift and strong actions to do what was right for this country regardless of the reaction and opposition he might receive from those who are working to bring about his destruction. He needs to finally stand up and fight for what’s right. But how to do it?

He would have to follow the example of Theodore Roosevelt: a human dynamo, driven to be the best at anything he did, fearless, courageous and totally dedicated to his country.

He would have to strive to be like John F. Kennedy, a truly inspirational leader who commanded the respect and the admiration of the American people.

He would need to emulate Lyndon Johnson: an unrelenting, very clever politician who would not stop until he accomplished what he set out to do.

And, lastly, he would have to follow the political strategy of Franklin D. Roosevelt who knew how to connect with people, a master motivator and a shrewd politician who knew exactly how to get things done.

Now with that in mind what does he need to do specifically in the next three years to jumpstart his presidency and prove to the American people that he is the president they thought he could be? If I were his chief political adviser at this point in his presidency here is what I would tell him to do with his remaining years in office:

It’s way past time to bring the hammer down hard on the Republican political thugs and their agenda of legislative obstruction. For every issue that they have attempted to destroy or obstruct he should to launch an intensive media attack and show the American people in explicit details just how Republicans are severely damaging this nation. These kinds of thugs and bullies respect nothing but force so it’s time to use the full force of the American people against them.

Use the presidential Bully Pulpit to hammer the GOP relentlessly every time they do something that is diametrically opposed to the wishes of the American people; such as slashing food stamps, refusing to create jobs and extending unemployment benefits, or attempting to make cuts to Social Security.

Being articulate and eloquent is one thing but connecting with and inspiring people with a message that they want to hear is quite another. He must motivate, he must inspire and energize. And if he connects with the American people and they trust in his words they will respond and support him with the massive power that only they possess.

He needs to say “Yes we can” and “It’s time for change” and really mean it this time by outlining specific directions and objectives for this nation; not just use lofty rhetoric and worn out platitudes. And, of greatest importance, he has to immediately stop alienating many of his staunchest supporters including liberals, progressives and independents who have become so disillusioned with his current centrist positions.

He has to regain the trust of Hispanics who do not like what they see as he sets new records for deportations of unauthorized immigrants, over 2 million so far, easily surpassing those made under the G.W. Bush administration. This deportation program is adversely affecting the strong support that Hispanics have always given the Democratic Party.

He has to totally distance himself from the power and domination of the Washington Establishment and become his own man. Without a doubt it’s time that he reins in the unrestrained power and outreach of the NSA agency in spying on the people of this nation. He would have to back off his aggressive drone attacks in many different countries that are doing nothing but generating thousands more vengeful enemies.

If he speaks out against the gross inequality of wealth and income in this nation, as he did in his recent State of the Union address, and then also continues to strongly support the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, then he will come across as a hypocrite that talks out of both sides of his mouth. He must withdraw his support from this agreement because it’s clear that if it’s put into effect it will further decimate the American workforce and the middle class.

This will be Mr. Obama’s last chance to rescue his presidency from stagnation and, possibly, turn it into one of that historians will call one of the greatest of political comebacks. He needs to adopt a totally new strategy based upon the fact that you cannot deal with political bullies by attempting to use reason and rationality and continually offering them an olive branch; for they will take that branch and break it in half every time.

So what can we conclude from this discussion of this enormous, ongoing problem that can only get worse? How can America extract itself from this deep political morass? There is only one way; this president must use every means at his disposal to directly connect with the American people and find the ways to harness the enormous power that they possess to send this strong message to the obstructionists in this Congress:

“Change your ways, end your agenda of obstructionism, stop the gridlock and finally do what’s right for your country and the American people. And if you don’t and you continue to wreak havoc on this country and its society, we the people will run you out of Washington and send you into political oblivion.”

Michael Payne

Submitters Bio:

Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

Let banks fail: Iceland’s plan looks to be working

January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

 

By Scott Baker

Iceland is finding that crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2 percent unemployment into a realistic goal. Letting the banks fail resulted in short term hardship, and multiple political turnovers, but today even the IMF admits it was the right thing to do. Inflation is quieting down and capital controls are being relaxed. Was that so hard?

Submitters Bio:

Scott Baker is a Senior Editor and Writer at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post.
Scott Baker is President of Common Ground-NYC (http://commongroundnyc.org/), a Geoist/Georgist group. He has written dozens of articles for Common Ground’s national publication, GroundSwell, and has promoted the Georgist Single Tax to public officials – a tax which would dramatically reduce use of finite resources, which, rightfully, belong to all of us as part of the Commons. A Georgist Single Tax would increase productivity in Earth-saving ways, while virtually eliminating unproductive speculation (by taxing away the fuel for it), decrease poverty, and promote Social justice. It would also promote economic growth by untaxing production and taxing the abuse (pollution) and use of the natural resources of the commons, especially including collecting the economic rent created by demand from the community, not from actions of the Land or resource owner.
He is also NY State Coordinator for the Public Banking Institute (http://publicbankinginstitute.org/home.htm), which seeks to promote Public Banking, along the lines of the best-known American example, the Bank of North Dakota. The PBI is chaired by another OEN blogger, Ellen Brown.
Several TV and radio interviews have allowed Scott to explain the principles of Geoism, Greenbacking, and State Banking:
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Geoism-explained-on-Public-by-Scott-Baker-120613-256.html
http://www.wgdr.org/cgi-bin/archive.pl
Scott also has a blog: http://newthinking.blogspot.com/

Scott has several progressive petitions on Change.org:
A new form of capitalism: Geonomics
http://www.change.org/actions/view/a_new_form_of_capitalism_geonomics
and
Let NY fund its budget gap with a State Bank – change.org/actions/view/close_the_gap_2
http://www.change.org/petitions/view/let_the_empire_state_finance_its_own_budget_gap

Scott was an I.T. Manager for a major New York university for over two decades, where he initiated computing, developed databases, established networks for two divisions and earned a Certificate for Frontline Leadership. He had a video game published in Compute! Magazine (summarized here: http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue55/dark.php).

Scott now chooses to use his computer for the greater good.
He is a graduate of the Henry George School of Social Science in New York City and has published over a dozen articles in the Georgist newsletter – Groundswell – put out by Common Ground.

Scott is a modern-day Renaissance Man with interests in economics, astronomy, history, natural sciences, psychology, philosophy, Native American culture, and all future-forward topics; he has been called an adept syncretist by Kirkus Discoveries for his novel, NeitherWorld – a two-volume opus blending Native American myth, archaeological detail, government conspiracy, with a sci-fi flair (http://www.amazon.com/Neitherworld-Book-Akiiwan-CreateSpace-Version/dp/1434813290/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341306969&sr=8-1&keywords=neitherworld).

Scott grew up in New York City and Pennsylvania. He graduated with honors and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University and was a member of the Psychology honor society PSI CHI.

Today he is an avid bicyclist and is active in several Green and Progressive organizations.
Technorati code: a72h4zxgud

Why is the Fed tapering?

January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

 

By Paul Craig Roberts

The Fed knows that the ability of the US to pay its bills in its own currency is the reason it can stand its large trade imbalance and is the basis for US power. If the dollar loses the reserve currency role, the US becomes just another country with balance of payments and currency problems and an inability to sell its bonds in order to finance its budget deficits.

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Source: Paul Craig Roberts

By Paul Craig Roberts and *Dave KranzlerOn January 17, 2014, we explained “The Hows and Whys of Gold Price Manipulation.” In former times, the rise in the gold price was held down by central banks selling gold or leasing gold to bullion dealers who sold the gold. The supply added in this way to the market absorbed some of the demand, thus holding down the rise in the gold price.

As the supply of physical gold on hand diminished, increasingly recourse was taken to selling gold short in the paper futures market. We illustrated a recent episode in our article. Below we illustrate the uncovered short-selling that took the gold price down today (January 30, 2014).

When the Comex trading floor opened January 30 at 8:20AM NY time, the price of gold inexplicably plunged $17 over the next 30 minutes. The price plunge was triggered when sell orders flooded the Comex trading floor. Over the course of the previous 23 hours of trading, an average of 202 gold contracts per minute had traded. But starting at the 8:20AM Comex, there were four 1-minute windows of trading here’s what happened:

8:21AM: 1766 contracts sold
8:22AM: 5172 contracts sold
8:31AM: 3242 contracts sold
8:47AM: 3515 contracts soldimage

Over those four minutes of trading, an average of 3,424 contracts per minute traded, or 17 times the average per minute volume of the previous 23 hours, including yesterday’s Comex trading session.

The yellow arrow indicates when the Comex floor opened for gold futures trading. There was not any news events or related market events that would have triggered a sell-off like this in gold. If an entity holding many contracts wanted to sell down its position, it would accomplish this by slowly feeding its position to the market over the course of the entire trading day in order to avoid disturbing the price or “telegraphing” its intent to sell to the market.

Instead, today’s selling was designed to flood the Comex trading floor with a high volume of sell orders in rapid succession in order to drive the price of gold as low as possible before buyers stepped in.

The reason for this is two-fold: Driving down the price of gold assists the Fed in its efforts to support the dollar, and the Comex is running out of physical gold available to be delivered to those who decide to take delivery of gold instead of cash settlement.

The February gold contract is subject to delivery starting on January 31st. As of January 29th, two days before the delivery period starts, there were 2,223,000 ounces of gold futures open against 375,000 ounces of gold available to be delivered. The primary banks who trade Comex gold (JP Morgan, HSBC, Bank Nova Scotia) are the primary entities who are short those Comex contracts.

Typically toward the end of a delivery month, these banks drive the price of gold lower for the purpose of coercing holders of the contracts to sell. This avoids the problem of having a shortage of gold available to deliver to the entities who decide to take delivery. With an enormous amount of physical gold moving from the western bank vaults to the large Asian buyers of gold, the Comex ultimately does not have enough gold to honor delivery obligations should the day arrive when a fifth or a fourth of the contracts are presented for delivery. Prior to a delivery period or due date on the contracts, manipulation is used to drive the Comex price of gold as low as possible in order to induce enough selling to avoid a possible default on gold delivery.

Following the taper announcement on January 29, the gold price rose $14 to $1270, and the Dow Jones Index dropped 100 points, closing down 74 points from its trading level at the time the tapering was announced. These reactions might have surprised the Fed, leading to the stock market support and gold price suppression on January 30.

Manipulation of the gold price is a foregone conclusion. The question is: why is the Fed tapering? The official reason is that the recovery is now strong enough not to need the stimulus. There are two problems with the official explanation. One is that the purpose of QE has always been to support the prices of the debt-related derivatives on the balance sheets of the banks too big to fail. The other is that the Fed has enough economists and statisticians to know that the recovery is a statistical artifact of deflating GDP with an understated measure of inflation. No other indicator — employment, labor force participation, real median family income, real retail sales, or new construction — indicates economic recovery. Moreover, if in fact the economy has been in recovery since June 2009, after 4.5 years of recovery it is time for a new recession.

One possible explanation for the tapering is that the Fed has created enough new dollars with which to purchase the worst part of the banks’ balance sheet problems and transfer them to the Fed’s balance sheet, while in other ways enhancing the banks’ profits. With the job done, the Fed can slowly back off.

The problem with this explanation is that the liquidity that the Fed has created found its way into the stock and bond markets and into emerging economies. Curtailing the flow of liquidity crashes the markets, bringing on a new financial crisis.

We offer two explanations for the tapering. One is technical, and one is strategic.

First the technical explanation. The Fed’s bond purchases and the banks’ interest rate swap derivatives have made a dent in the supply of Treasuries. With income tax payments starting to flow in, fewer Treasuries are being issued to put pressure on interest rates. This permits the Fed to make a show of doing the right thing and reduce bond purchases. As a weakening economy becomes apparent as the year progresses, calls for the Fed to support the economy will permit the Fed to broaden the array of instruments that it purchases.

A strategic explanation for tapering is that the growth of US debt and money creation is causing the world to turn a jaundiced eye toward the US dollar and toward its role as world reserve currency.

Currently the Russian Duma is discussing legislation that would eliminate the dollar’s use and presence in Russia. Other countries are moving away from the dollar. Recently the Nigerian central bank reduced its dollar reserves and increased its holdings of Chinese yuan. Zimbabwe, which was using the US dollar as its own currency, switched to the Chinese yuan. The former chief economist of the World Bank recently called for terminating the use of the dollar as world reserve currency. He said that “the dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises.” Moreover, the Federal Reserve is very much aware of the flight away from the dollar into gold, because it is this flight that causes the Fed to manipulate the gold price in order to hold it down and in order to be able to free up gold for delivery.

The Fed knows that the ability of the US to pay its bills in its own currency is the reason it can stand its large trade imbalance and is the basis for US power. If the dollar loses the reserve currency role, the US becomes just another country with balance of payments and currency problems and an inability to sell its bonds in order to finance its budget deficits.

In other words, perhaps the Fed understands that a dollar crisis is a bigger crisis than a bank crisis and that its bailout of the banks is undermining the dollar. The question is: will the Fed let the banks go in order to save the dollar?

*Dave Kranzler traded high yield bonds for Bankers Trust for a decade. As a co-founder and principal of Golden Returns Capital LLC, he manages the Precious Metals Opportunity Fund.

Submitters Website: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Submitters Bio:

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente’s Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Failure-Capitalism-Economic-Dissolution-ebook/dp/B00BLPJNWE/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1362095594&sr=8-17&keywords=paul+craig+roberts

 

The Federal Court Trashes Net Neutrality… and the Internet

January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

 

By Alfredo Lopez

The federal courts have now destroyed net neutrality as the operative principle on the Internet. Maybe it’s time to take the Internet back from private corporations.

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The week before last, the District of Columbia Federal Appeals Court handed down an unsurprising decision that, if applied aggressively, would destroy the Internet as we know it. It concerns the term most of us have heard, but many don’t understand: Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality is the principle that service providers –the people who actually provide the connections to the Internet, like Verizon and Comcast — can’t discriminate in the delivery of content or provision of access based on user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication. If you go on-line, you can reach everything anyone else can. It’s been law since 2010, mirroring the growth in popularity of high-speed Internet, and the telecommunications companies have been fighting it ever since.

Essentially, the court’s recent decision ruled that the Federal Communications Commission does not have the standing to enforce Net Neutrality on Internet high-speed (or broadband) providers. So, as of now, there is no Net Neutrality and that has caused a major pushback among media and activists who are alternately frightened, shocked, and downright angry at the court, the corporations and, mainly, the FCC.

But what has gone largely unnoticed or at least uncommented is that the court decision implicitly gives the FCC enhanced power over Internet functioning without any oversight or restraint. In short, they took away our freedom and replaced it with greater government control.

This is the the most serious blow ever to Internet freedom and the political work we do on it. To figure out how we fix this, we need to understand how we got here and that’s a complicated and sometimes apparently self-contradictory lesson in the problems of putting politically-connected, unprincipled operatives in charge of your communications policies. It also demonstrates how huge corporations can push the government around and how a government agency can seem to lose power while actually gaining complete control.

Finally, it makes clear that, if the Internet’s role is to be preserved, access to it must treated as a human right and must be taken over by elected governments or agencies under public oversight. In short, it’s time to de-privatize the Internet and that’s probably the only way a free Internet is going to survive.

The focal point of last week’s court ruling is a 2010 FCC decision that seems straightforward: high-speed Internet service is an information service that must practice Net Neutrality. Under the order, broadband providers must disclose how they manage network traffic, can’t block content or services, and can’t block websites or “unreasonably discriminate” in transmitting information. The 2010 decision followed nearly a decade of hearings, FCC orders thrown out by courts and all kinds of litigation including intense and often bizarre lawsuits pitting well-dressed corporate lawyers representing communications giants like Verizon and Comcast and making court arguments that not even techies can truly understand. It’s never really clear who wins those corporate lawsuit fights because, in the end, both sides manage to claim some kind of victory — so the scoreboard is blank.

The technology world just wanted it all to end and the 2010 decision promised to do just that. But when activists and experts saw the decision language, they cringed. What seemed like a victory for the advocates of Net Neutrality was actually the first step off a legal cliff.

The problem was the definition of broad-band service. There are two types of communications services the FCC oversees and defines. Telecommunications services are the basic technologies like those carried over phone lines; they are “neutral”. For example, you don’t get charged more because the person on the other line is a favorite relative; charges for calls are never based on who receives the call just on where the call is placed. “Information services” are “enhanced” communications technologies like television. Obviously, their content is for sale and, if you want a particular content package (movie channels, for example) you have to pay extra for them.

For some time, FCC policy on the Internet was pretty simple: the technology ran over phone lines and so could be classifed a telecommunications service and so neutrality was built-in. But, during the first decade of this century, the FCC was forced to revisit this issue because the Internet was radically changing: while Internet service had traditionally been carried by phone cables, the faster broadband service was now also being carried by cable TV companies over cable wires. That isn’t subject to Net Neutrality rules.

Since 2002, when this issue first was discussed by the FCC, the phone companies (like Verizon) have argued that their broadband shouldn’t be treated as telecommunications services because cable outfits like Comcast don’t get that restrictive treatment. They’re treated like cable television. The version on the Web would be, if you want to reach certain websites (probably the most popular entertainment sites for starters), you have to pay a higher price for your service.

The two types of companies have spent the entire last decade suing each other, and the FCC, over various FCC attempts to address this disparity. The last attempt, the 2010 order, tried to quiet the storm by acknowledging that they are all (including the phone company high-speed service) “information services” — a capitulation to the powerful cable tv lobby. But, said that 2010 ruling, they have to follow rules of Net Neutrality anyway. That was absurd, everyone knew it, and the court has now said so.

In his ruling, Judge David Tatel (one of the federal court’s experts on this issue) actually implied that he agreed with Net Neutrality but that it didn’t apply to “information services”. In short, he ruled, the FCC shouldn’t apply the “information provider” title to any broadband if it wants to preserve Net Neutrality.

The response was predictable from some circles. Free Press, a leader in this fight, protested loudly and vigorously, even saying that Net Neutrality is dead (“for now”). Other “free Internet” activists and advocates followed suit. The Internet’s progressive technology blog lit up in the Internet’s version of spontaneous combustion.

Surprisingly, FCC Chairperson Tom Wheeler actually hailed the decision saying that the Commission now has greater authoritative power over the Internet. Or maybe that Wheeler reaction shouldn’t have been so surprising because the FCC has actually emerged much stronger from this “loss”.

What exactly does this decision do? It gives a profit source to service providers like Verizon or Comcast… the people who hook you up to the Internet itself and not the ones who host and serve your email or website. The decision allows them to “sell” you access to particular websites and content by charging you more to reach them or to charge the owners of those sites to provide greater access to them. Or both — probably both for more popular sites (as they do with cable television).

In fact, under this decision, the providers can now increase the speed of access to certain websites (the ones that are “pay sites”) and comparatively decrease the speed of (or even block) access to the rest. By all accounts, that is exactly what the companies are planning to do. “Verizon lawyer Helgi Walker made the company’s intentions all too clear, saying the company wants to prioritize those websites and services that are willing to shell out for better access,” according to a Free Press report on a September 2013 hearing. “She also admitted that the company would like to block online content from those companies or individuals that don’t pay Verizon’s tolls.”

To speculate on what that will mean for most content offers on the Internet, including many progressive and information websites, is to wade through a marsh of nightmares.

In the largest sense, the ruling represents the destruction of the Internet as it was originally intended. It was developed for precisely the opposite reason: to provide people with the ability to communicate with each other, share information, talk about anything they want and research everything they want… without discrimination based on wealth, nationality, or race. It was a place for everyone as none other than Pope Francis recently pointed out when he called the Internet “a gift from God”. Under this ruling, it no longer will be.

Wired Magazine was quick to point out another problem most pundits were ignoring. This decision tears apart one of the few vehicles for learning available to poor people. In fact, the Internet (partly through cell-phone technology) has become one of the principle vehicles of communication for people of color and poor people in this country. Even those without computers can go to the library and log on — as they do by droves here in my neighborhood, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where the average income is in the bottom third of the nation’s and the local library is packed every minute it’s open.

We don’t often think about the importance the Internet has for poor people but it is, in many communities, the only source of vital information. This decision threatens to end that because no company is going to provide resources to people when they can make money cutting them off.

The impact on progressive and community organizing will be harsh; that’s practically guaranteed. The absence of Net Neutrality will cut people off from many sources of politically critical (and vital) information because organizations of the Left who have websites can’t afford to pay all these companies so people can visit them and many people using the Internet aren’t going to pay just to visit movement websites. This will most deeply affect “more casual” users: activists, for example, who log on for an hour a day to get email and maybe browse a news site and then do a bit of specific research they need in their work. This is a group the Internet was designed to address because it doesn’t require fees or subscriptions to get to specific content. You log on and do what you want as long as you want to. That will no longer be possible.

While activists are calling on the FCC to redefine Internet access as a telecommunications service and apply neutrality rules to it, the response from FCC Chairman Wheeler indicates that the Commission may be more than reluctant to take that step.

If it did, there would certainly be a strong push-back from the cable industry association National Cable & Telecommunications Association whose President, former FCC chair Michael Powell, has promised a fight similar to “World War III” if the FCC were to make such a reclassification. The Commission doesn’t want that kind of fight against one of this country’s most powerful trade associations. In fact, it may not want this fight at all.

It’s not clear that the FCC believes in Net Neutrality; nothing it has done would indicate a firm commitment to that principle. At the same time, the court ruling affirms enormous FCC power, allowing it regulate Internet use and traffic in just about any way short of net neutrality — pricing, distribution, even content — provided that it does so pursuing “fairness and public good”. Of course, under the ruling, it gets to decide what “public good” is. So the court took away the power to impose net neutrality but it gave the FCC unprecedented powers over everything else. How will it use those powers? No one knows and Wheeler isn’t saying but depending on a government agency’s good will and wisdom has historically proven dangerous.

One issue not being seen in mainstream commentary is an issue raised by some progressive information activists and community organizers. If Internet access is a human right, dumping Net Neutrality is a violation of it. As the communications corporations see it, that principle isn’t profitable. So, if it is to be exercised as a human right, it must be taken out of the hands of corporations. This is actually more feasible than it might sound.

Many municipalities across the country have begun experimenting with public broadband systems using wifi (or wireless Internet) technologies. When fully implemented across a city or town, everyone living or working there has automatic, high-speed Internet access at absolutely no cost. Net Neutrality is guaranteed because discrimination in public utility policies is illegal in this country.

There are several municipalities that might undertake implementation right now. Jackson, Mississippi, where veteran movement leader Chockwe Lumumba has been elected Mayor, is certainly one. My hometown, New York City, just elected Bill DeBlasio who ran a campaign on his progressive credentials and policies. A city-wide Internet system would be quite a model for the rest of the country. Seattle, Boston, Washington DC? What about the smaller “forward looking” town/cities like the Hoboken or Jersey City in New Jersey?

There are scores if not hundreds of municipalities in this country whose governments might be willing to take this project on.

Is it possible? The technology is there using “mesh” systems that are already developed and could be quickly expanded and perfected. Would every municipality support it politically and be able to afford it? If it were mandated by the FCC (which now has the power to do that) and at least partially supported through federal funds (and there are plenty of those if Washington deems it a priority), it’s tough to envision many cities and towns resisting. In any case, that’s a fight we should be willing to undertake.

Once the implementation of that right is established, rural communities (where wireless Internet might be more difficult) could then be wired for Internet to comply with the FCC’s fairness rules.

Of course, we should fight for FCC changes in the service classification and pressure to turn back this Net Neutrality ruling. But taking advantage of this moment to fight for the de-privatization of the Internet would be a wonderful way to underscore Internet access’s status as a human right, demand that government do what it’s created to do and reclaim the Internet as the technology the human race has created and expanded. That’s worth the effort.

Submitters Bio:

Alfredo Lopez is a member of the This Can’t Be Happening on-line publication collective where he covers technology and Co-Chair of the Leadership Committee of May First/People Link.

 

Nuclear Engineer: Even worse news at Fukushima plant — Radioactive water has formed pathway and is flowing straight into Pacific Ocean (AUDIO)

January 31, 2014

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Nuclear Engineer: Even worse news at Fukushima plant — Radioactive water has formed pathway and is flowing straight into Pacific Ocean (AUDIO)

Posted: 31 Jan 2014 01:00 AM PST

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

NHK broadcaster quits in protest over nuclear issues — Professor censored after 20 years on air — Was to reveal ‘extraordinarily high’ damages — Newly installed NHK chief ‘enthusiastic’ to help spread gov’t messages to audience

Posted: 30 Jan 2014 04:04 PM PST

Kyodo: Robot data reveals hole in Unit 2 suspected to be almost 10 square cm; Highly radioactive water draining out bottom of containment vessel — Tepco model shows molten fuel barely underwater — Temperature irregulaties started earlier this month (GRAPHIC)

Posted: 30 Jan 2014 01:24 PM PST

NPR: West Coast sea stars melt into mush, “just vaporized… it’s the change of my lifetime” — “Ripping themselves apart… innards spilled out” — “Like the Matrix” — “That many species, that widespread… just scary” — “Makes me wonder, what’s next?” — ‘Possible’ Fukushima fallout is involved (VIDEO)

Posted: 30 Jan 2014 09:28 AM PST

BBC: Ukraine “on brink of civil war” — Gov’t: Threats to blow up nuclear plants; Facilities on high alert after seizure of energy ministry (VIDEO)

Posted: 30 Jan 2014 06:08 AM PST

Monsanto’s Roundup Is Threatening the Monarch Butterfly

January 31, 2014

Monsanto's Roundup. (photo: Paul Sakuma/AP)
Monsanto’s Roundup. (photo: Paul Sakuma/AP)

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By Warren Cornwall, Slate Magazine

30 January 14

 

Monsanto’s Roundup and genetically modified crops are harming everybody’s favorite butterfly.

eeding on a weed seems like a good evolutionary bet. And for a long time, it worked well for the monarch butterfly.

The butterfly’s life cycle is exquisitely synchronized to the seasonal growth of milkweed, the only plant its larvae will eat. In a game of hopscotch, successive generations of monarchs follow the springtime emergence of milkweed from Mexico as far north as Canada. The hardy plant once flourished in grasslands, roadsides, abandoned lots, and cornfields across much of the continent. It fueled a mass migration that ended each winter with more than 60 million butterflies converging on pine forests in the Sierra Madres.

Then came Roundup.

The number of monarchs reaching Mexico has been falling for years, and it has now reached the lowest level on record. The World Wildlife Fund announced Wednesday that butterflies this winter were found in 1.7 acres across 11 sanctuaries, down from a high of 45 acres in 1996. If you want to know a main reason why, look no further than your corn chips and ethanol-spiked gasoline.

The monarch population sank while agriculture boomed. More than a million acres of Upper Midwest grassland have been plowed under in recent years for corn and soybean fields – a rate of loss comparable to deforestation in places like Brazil and Indonesia. Demand for these crops has surged with the rise of biofuels. At the same time, technology enabled farmers to squeeze ever more from each acre. For monarchs, the most important development was Roundup Ready corn and soybeans.

Since the turn of the century, these genetically modified crops have risen to dominance in the Midwest. Designed to withstand dousing from the Monsanto company’s Roundup weed killer, the plants enabled farmers to swiftly kill competing weeds, including milkweed, while leaving their crops untouched. In 2013, 83 percent of all corn and 93 percent of soybeans in the United States were herbicide tolerant, totaling nearly 155 million acres, much of it in the Midwest.

It’s no coincidence monarchs faltered at the same time. Karen Oberhauser, a conservation biologist at the University of Minnesota, and a colleague estimated that as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn and soybeans spread across the Midwest, the amount of milkweed in farm fields fell by more than 80 percent. Oberhauser determined that the loss of milkweed almost exactly mirrored the decline in monarch egg production.

“We have this smoking gun,” Oberhauser said. “This is the only thing that we’ve actually been able to correlate with decreasing monarch numbers.”

Soon there will be essentially no monarchs on cropland in the corn belt, according to some estimates. Already, Iowa farmland has lost more than 98 percent of the milkweed that was once there, according to Iowa State University biologist John Pleasants, who worked with Oberhauser. He’s seen firsthand the transformation as he has studied cornfields during the past decade and a half. Before Roundup, patches of milkweed grew among the corn and along the edges of fields. After the herbicide – nothing but corn.

This year’s dismal turnout of monarchs has other factors to blame as well. There have been two years of unusual spring weather in the United States. In 2012 it was hotter than normal, and the following year it was colder, disrupting the insects’ northward migration. Illegal logging has whittled away at monarchs’ winter habitat. But nothing can match the lost milkweed in the Midwest, birthplace of roughly half of all the monarchs east of the Rockies, said Chip Taylor, a University of Kansas ecologist who runs Monarch Watch, a program that monitors monarch populations: “The scale of loss is fantastic.”

Monsanto emphasizes that loss of milkweed to herbicides isn’t the only culprit. Tom Helscher, Monsanto’s director of corporate affairs, notes that a 2012 study found monarch numbers hadn’t fallen at sites in New Jersey and northern Michigan. (Taylor and other monarch scientists dismiss the study because it looked at populations where milkweed is still relatively abundant.) And, Helscher said, butterfly conservation needs to be balanced with “society’s need to improve productivity in agriculture.”

No one expects that agribusiness will give up efficient, lucrative, and potent tools. Instead, butterfly advocates are hoping the industry will throw some money and marketing savvy behind campaigns to get people to plant more milkweed elsewhere. Taylor last year started marketing tiny milkweed seedlings to gardeners. He sold 20,000 and is gearing up to double or triple that this year. But he acknowledges it’s a fraction of what’s needed.

This doesn’t mean the monarch is about to go the way of the passenger pigeon.* The butterfly, which is also found in Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal, still numbers in the millions. It’s not a candidate for the Endangered Species Act. But there’s concern that the epic mass migration to Mexico, a natural wonder, could disappear.

The success of this transcontinental trip could depend on a critical mass of butterflies, said Oberhauser. The massive gathering might help protect against predators, much as tiny fish seek safety in huge schools, she said. But if there aren’t enough butterflies, the tactic might not work. Huge clusters of butterflies could also help them stay warm and save energy as they wait for spring to arrive.

A smaller population can also have more trouble recovering when other problems strike, like droughts or heat waves. As the climate changes, earlier springs might throw off the intricate timing between monarchs and their food. That happened in 2012, when unusually warm weather caused monarchs to migrate north before most of the milkweed had emerged. Taylor’s worries that by midcentury, the biggest threat to the migration will be that Texas is just “too bloody hot.”

Oberhauser’s immediate concern is at once more practical and more romantic. She worries that as monarchs get harder to find, people will lose a popular link to the natural world – a gateway drug for nature lovers.

How many kids in classrooms around the country have watched a plump caterpillar become a jade-green capsule the size of a peanut shell, then a monarch butterfly? As a child I saw the drama unfold in an aquarium in my family’s living room in Idaho. It was magical to see the subject of all those children’s books and metaphors of transformation given flesh.

Flash forward 30 years, and I resolved to repeat this monarch ritual with my children. I led them into a patch of milkweed plants in a Vermont field, confident that we would quickly wrangle a half-dozen caterpillars. Several hours later, we had one hostage.

Even with the dismal winter numbers, there’s still hope for summer caterpillar hunters. Monarch numbers will probably stay lower than they were in a weedier world, but the butterflies lay enough eggs that they can bounce back a bit in just one season, Taylor said. Now he’s watching the spring weather forecast in Texas and crossing his fingers.

 

World War II: After the War

January 31, 2014

 

OCT 30, 2011 |
 
 


At the end of World War II, huge swaths of Europe and Asia had been reduced to ruins. Borders were redrawn and homecomings, expulsions, and burials were under way. But the massive efforts to rebuild had just begun. When the war began in the late 1930s, the world’s population was approximately 2 billion. In less than a decade, the war between the Axis the Allied powers had resulted in 80 million deaths — killing off about 4 percent of the whole world. Allied forces now became occupiers, taking control of Germany, Japan, and much of the territory they had formerly ruled. Efforts were made to permanently dismantle the war-making abilities of those nations, as factories were destroyed and former leadership was removed or prosecuted. War crimes trials took place in Europe and Asia, leading to many executions and prison sentences. Millions of Germans and Japanese were forcibly expelled from territories they called home. Allied occupations and United Nations decisions led to many long-lasting problems in the future, including the tensions that created East and West Germany, and divergent plans on the Korean Peninsula that led to the creation of North and South Korea and — the Korean War in 1950. The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine paved the way for Israel to declare its independence in 1948 and marked the start of the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict. The growing tensions between Western powers and the Soviet Eastern Bloc developed into the Cold War, and the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons raised the very real specter of an unimaginable World War III if common ground could not be found. World War II was the biggest story of the 20th Century, and its aftermath continues to affect the world profoundly more than 65 years later. (This entry is Part 20 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II) [45 photos]

 
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German Wehrmacht General Anton Dostler is tied to a stake before his execution by a firing squad in a stockade in Aversa, Italy, on December 1, 1945. The General, Commander of the 75th Army Corps, was sentenced to death by an United States Military Commission in Rome for having ordered the shooting of 15 unarmed American prisoners of war, in La Spezia, Italy, on March 26, 1944. (AP Photo) 
 
Soviet soldiers with lowered standards of the defeated Nazi forces during the Victory Day parade in Moscow, on June 24, 1945. (Yevgeny Khaldei/Waralbum.ru# 
 
Gaunt and emaciated, but happy at their release from Japanese captivity, two Allied prisoners pack their meager belongings, after being freed near Yokohama, Japan, on September 11, 1945, by men of an American mercy squadron of the U.S. Navy. (AP Photo) # 
 
The return of victorious Soviet soldiers at a railway station in Moscow in 1945.(Arkady Shaikhet/Waralbum.ru# 
 
Aerial view of Hiroshima, Japan, one year after the atomic bomb blast shows some small amount of reconstruction amid much ruin on July 20, 1946. The slow pace of rebuilding is attributed to a shortage of building equipment and materials. (AP Photo/Charles P. Gorry) # 
 
A Japanese man amid the scorched wreckage and rubble that was once his home in Yokohama, Japan.(NARA) # 
 
Red Army photographer Yevgeny Khaldei (center) in Berlin with Soviet forces, near the Brandenburg Gate in May of 1945. (Waralbum.ru# 
 
A P-47 Thunderbolt of the U.S. Army 12th Air Force flies low over the crumbled ruins of what once was Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgaden, Germany, on May 26, 1945. Small and large bomb craters dot the grounds around the wreckage. (AP Photo) # 
 
Hermann Goering, once the leader of the formidable Luftwaffe and second in command of the German Reich under Hitler, appears in a mugshot on file with the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects in Paris, France, on November 5, 1945. Goering surrendered to U.S. soldiers in Bavaria, on May 9, 1945, and was eventually taken to Nuremburg to face trial for War Crimes. (AP Photo) # 
 
The interior of the courtroom of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946 during the Trial of the Major War Criminals, prosecuting 24 government and civilian leaders of Nazi Germany. Visible here is Hermann Goering, former leader of the Luftwaffe, seated in the box at center right, wearing a gray jacket, headphones, and dark glasses. Next to him sits Rudolf Hess, former Deputy Fuhrer of Germany, then Joachim von Ribbentrop, former Nazi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilhelm Keitel, former leader of Germany’s Supreme Command (blurry face), and Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the highest ranking surviving SS-leader. Goering, von Ribbentrop, Keitel, and Kaltenbrunner were sentenced to death by hanging along with 8 others — Goering committed suicide the night before the execution. Hess was sentenced to life imprisonment, which he served at Spandau Prison, Berlin, where he died in 1987. (AP Photo/STF) # 
 
Many of Germany’s captured new and experimental aircraft were displayed in an exhibition as part of London’s Thanksgiving week on September 14, 1945. Among the aircraft are a number of jet and rocket propelled planes. Here, a side view of the Heinkel He-162 “Volksjaeger”, propelled by a turbo-jet unit mounted above the fuselage, in Hyde park, in London. (AP Photo) # 
 
One year after the D-Day landings in Normandy, German prisoners landscape the first U.S. cemetery at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, France, near “Omaha” Beach, on May 28, 1945. (AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll) # 
 
Sudeten Germans make their way to the railway station in Liberec, in former Czechoslovakia, to be transferred to Germany in this July, 1946 photo. After the end of the war, millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans were forcibly expelled from both territory Germany had annexed, and formerly German lands that were transferred to Poland and the Soviet Union. The estimated numbers of Germans involved ranges from 12 to 14 million, with a further estimate of between 500,000 and 2 million dying during the expulsion. (AP Photo/CTK) # 
 
A survivor of the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare, Jinpe Teravama retains scars after the healing of burns from the bomb explosion, in Hiroshima, in June of 1947. (AP Photo) # 
 
Disabled buses that have littered the streets of Tokyo are used to help relieve the acute housing shortage in the Japanese capital on October 2, 1946. Homeless Japanese who hauled the buses into a vacant lot are converting them into homes for their families. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry) # 
 
An American G.I. places his arm around a Japanese girl as they view the surroundings of Hibiya Park, near the Tokyo palace of the emperor, on January 21, 1946. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry) # 
 
This is an aerial view of the city of London around St. Paul’s Cathedral showing bomb-damaged areas in April of 1945. (AP Photo) # 
 
General Charles de Gaulle (center) shaking hands with children, two months after the German capitulation in Lorient, France, in July of 1945. Lorient was the location of a German U-boat (submarine) base during World War II. Between January 14 and February 17, 1943, as many as 500 high-explosive aerial bombs and more than 60,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on Lorient. The city was almost completely destroyed, with nearly 90% of the city flattened. (AFP/Getty Images) # 
 
The super transport ship, General W.P. Richardson, docked in New York, with veterans of the European war cheering on June 7, 1945. Many soldiers were veterans of the African campaign, Salerno, Anzio, Cassino and the winter warfare in Italy’s mountains. (AP Photo/Tony Camerano) # 
 
This aerial file photo shows a portion of Levittown, New York, in 1948 shortly after the mass-produced suburb was completed on Long Island farmland in New York. This prototypical suburban community was the first of many mass-produced housing developments that went up for soldiers coming home from World War II. It also became a symbol of postwar suburbia in the U.S.(AP Photo/Levittown Public Library, File) # 
 
This television set, retailing for $100, is reportedly the first moderately priced receiver manufactured in quantity. Rose Clare Leonard watches the screen, which reproduces a 5×7 image, as she tunes in at the first public post-war showing at a New York department store, on August 24, 1945. Although television was invented prior to World War II, the war prevented mass production. Soon after the war, sales and production picked up, and by 1948, regular commercial network programming had begun.(AP Photo/Ed Ford) # 
 
A U.S. soldier examines a solid gold statue, part of Hermann Goering’s private loot, found by the 7th U.S. Army in a mountainside cave near Schonau am Konigssee, Germany, on May 25, 1945. The secret cave, the second found to date, also contained stolen priceless paintings from all over Europe.(AP Photo/Jim Pringle) # 
 
In Europe, some churches have been completely ruined, but others still stand amid utter devastation. Munchengladbach Cathedral stands here in the rubble, though still in need of repairs, seen in Germany, on November 20, 1945. (AP Photo) # 
 
On May 21, Colonel Bird, Commandant of Belsen Camp, gave the order for the last hut at Belsen Concentration Camp to be burned. A rifle salute was fired in honor of the dead, the British flag was run up at the same moment as a flame-thrower set fire to the last hut. A German flag and portrait of Hitler went up in flames inside the hut in June of 1945. (AP Photo/British Official Photo) # 
 
German mothers walk their children to school through the streets of Aachen, Germany, on June 6, 1945, for registration at the first public school to be opened by the U.S. military government after the war.(AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll) # 
 
A general view of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East meeting in Tokyo in April, 1947. On May 3, 1946, the Allies began the trial of 28 Japanese civilian and military leaders for war crimes. Seven were hanged and others were sentenced to prison terms. (AP Photo) # 
 
Soviet soldiers on the march in northern Korea in October of 1945. Japan had ruled the Korean peninsula for 35 years, until the end of World War II. At that time, Allied leaders decided to temporarily occupy the country until elections could be held and a government established. Soviet forces occupied the north, while U.S. forces occupied the south. The planned elections did not take place, as the Soviet Union established a communist state in North Korea, and the U.S. set up a pro-western state in South Korea – each state claiming to be sovereign over the entire peninsula. This standoff led to the Korean War in 1950, which ended in 1953 with the signing of an armistice — but, to this day, the two countries are still technically at war with each other. (Waralbum.ru# 
 
In this October 1945 photo from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, communist leader Kim Il Sung chats with a farmer from Qingshanli, Kangso County, South Pyongyang in North Korea.(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) # 
 
Soldiers of the Chinese communist Eighth Route Army on the drill field at Yanan, capital of a huge area in North China which is governed by the Chinese Communist Party, seen on March 26, 1946. These soldiers are members of the “Night Tiger” battalion. The Chinese Communist Party (CPC) had waged war against the ruling Kuomintang (KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party) since 1927, vying for control of China. Japanese invasions during World War II forced the two sides to put most of their struggles aside to fight a common foreign foe — though they did still fight each other from time to time. After World War II ended, and the Soviet Union pulled out of Manchuria, full scale civil war erupted in China in June of 1946. The KMT eventually was defeated, with millions retreating to Taiwan, as CPC leader Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China in 1949. (AP Photo) # 
 
This 1946 photograph shows ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), the first general purpose electronic computer – a 30-ton machine housed at the University of Pennsylvania. Developed in secret starting in 1943, ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory. The completed machine was announced to the public on February 14, 1946. The inventors of ENIAC promoted the spread of the new technologies through a series of influential lectures on the construction of electronic digital computers at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, known as the Moore School Lectures. (AP Photo) # 
 
A test nuclear explosion codenamed “Baker”, part of Operation Crossroads, at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, on July 25, 1946. The 40 kiloton atomic bomb was detonated by the U.S. at a depth of 27 meters below the ocean surface, 3.5 miles from the atoll. The purpose of the tests was to study the effects of nuclear explosions on ships. 73 ships were gathered to the spot — both obsolete American and captured ships, including the Japanese battleship “Nagato”. (NARA) # 
 
Northrop’s Flying Wing Bomber known as the XB-35 in flight in 1946. The XB-35 was an experimental heavy bomber developed for the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. The project was terminated shortly after the war, due to its technical difficulties. (AP Photo) # 
 
Japanese ammunition being dumped into the sea on September 21, 1945. During the U.S. occupation, almost all of the Japanese war industry and existing armament was dismantled. (U.S. Army) # 
 
These unidentified German workers in Decontamination clothing destroy toxic bombs on June 28, 1946, at the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service Depot, at St. Georgen, Germany. The destruction and disposal of 65,000 dead weight tons of German toxics, including mustard gas, was accomplished in one of two ways: Burning or dumping the empty shells and bombs into the North Sea. (AP Photo) # 
 
U.S. military authorities prepare to hang Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling, 74, at Landsberg, Germany, on May 28, 1946. In a Dachau war crimes trial he was convicted of using 1,200 concentration camp prisoners for malaria experimentation. Thirty died directly from the inoculations and 300 to 400 died later from complications of the disease. His experiments, all with unwilling subjects, began in 1942.(AP Photo/Robert Clover) # 
 
The new cemetery at Belsen, Germany on March 28, 1946, where 13,000 people who died after Belsen Concentration Camp was liberated are buried. (AP Photo) # 
 
Jewish survivors of the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp, some still in their camp clothing, stand on the deck of the refugee immigration ship Mataroa, on July 15, 1945 at Haifa port, during the British Mandate of Palestine, in what would later become the State of Israel. During World War II, millions of Jews were fleeing Germany and its occupied territories, many attempting to enter the British Mandate of Palestine, despite tight restrictions on Jewish immigration established by the British in 1939. Many of these would-be immigrants were caught and rounded up into detention camps. In 1947, Britain announced plans to withdraw from the territory, and the United Nations approved the Partition Plan for Palestine, establishing a Jewish and a Palestinian state in the country. On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence and was immediately attacked by neighboring Arab states, beginning the Arab-Israeli conflict which continues to this day. (Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images) # 
 
Some of Poland’s thousands of war orphans at the Catholic Orphanage in Lublin, on September 11, 1946, where they are being cared for by the Polish Red Cross. Most of the clothing, as well as vitamins and medicines, are provided by the American Red Cross. (AP Photo) # 
 
The Empress of Japan visits a Catholic Orphanage staffed by Japanese Nuns for children who have lost their parents in the war and air raids over Tokyo. The Empress inspected the grounds and paid a visit to the chapel. Children wave Japanese flags to greet the Empress during her visit in Fujisawa in Tokyo, on April 13, 1946. (AP Photo) # 
 
New buildings (right) rise out of the ruins of Hiroshima, Japan, on March 11, 1946. These single story homes built along a hard-surfaced highway are part of the program by the Japanese government to rebuild devastated sections of the country. At left background are damaged buildings whose masonry withstood the effects of the first atomic bomb ever detonated as a weapon.(AP Photo/Charles P. Gorry) # 
 
Clocks are being readied for export to Allied countries, shown as collateral for imported goods needed by Japan. Thirty-four Japanese factories produced 123,000 clocks during April of 1946. Photo taken on June 25, 1946. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry) # 
 
U.S. General George S. Patton acknowledges the cheers of thousands during a parade through downtown Los Angeles, California, on June 9, 1945. Shortly thereafter, Patton returned to Germany and controversy, as he advocated the employment of ex-Nazis in administrative positions in Bavaria; he was relieved of command of the 3rd Army and died of injuries from a traffic accident in December, after his return home. Joe Rosenthal’s famous Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph is visible on the war bonds billboard.(AP Photo) # 
 
This 1945 photo shows German women clearing up the debris on Berlin’s Tauentzienstrasse, with the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Church in the background. The absence of able bodied men meant that the responsibility for clearing the wreckage fell mainly to civilian women, which were called “Truemmerfrauen,” or rubble ladies. The signs on the left mark the border between the British-occupied sector and the U.S. sector of the city. (AP Photo) # 
 
The scene in Berlin’s Republic Square, before the ruined Reichstag Building, on September 9, 1948, as Anti-Communists, estimated at a quarter of a million, scream their opposition to Communism. At the time, the Soviet Union was enforcing the Berlin Blockade, blocking Allied access to the parts of Berlin under Allied control. In response, Allies began the Berlin Airlift until the Soviets lifted the blockade in 1949, and East Germany and West Germany were established. When the meeting pictured here broke up, a series of incidents between Anti-Red Germans and Soviet troops brought tension to a fever pitch as shootings took place, resulting in the deaths of two Germans. (AP-Photo) # 
 
In March of 1974, some 29 years after the official end of World War II, Hiroo Onoda, a former Japanese Army intelligence officer, walks out of the jungle of Lubang Island in the Philippines, where he was finally relieved of duty. He handed over his sword (hanging from his hip in photo), his rifle, ammunition and several hand grenades. Onoda had been sent to Lubang Island in December of 1944 to join an existing group of soldiers and hamper any enemy attacks. Allied forces overtook the island just a few months later, capturing or killing all but Onoda and three other Japanese soldiers. The four ran into the hills and began a decades-long insurgency extending well past the end of the war. Several times they found or were handed leaflets notifying them that the war had ended, but they refused to believe it. In 1950, one of the soldiers turned himself in to Philippine authorities. By 1972, Onoda’s two other compatriots were dead, killed during guerrilla activities, leaving Onoda alone. In 1974, Onoda met a Japanese college dropout, Norio Suzuki, who was traveling the world, and through their friendship, Onoda’s former commanding officer was located and flew to Lubang Island to formally relieve Onoda of duty, and bring him home to Japan. Over the years, the small group had killed some 30 Filipinos in various attacks, but Onoda ended up going free, after he received a pardon from President Ferdinand Marcos. (AP Photo) # 
 

RELATED LINKS AND INFORMATION

World War II in Photos – A 20-part series from In Focus
Nuremberg Trials – Wikipedia entry
Japanese holdouts – Wikipedia entry
 
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Comment: All lost! Only disasters!! Simple and stupid!!!